As a registered nurse or aspiring nurse, you may choose to specialize a nursing degree in pediatrics as a way of putting your love of children to good use. A nursing specialization will give you the opportunity to work with children from infancy to adulthood. If this type of career appeals to you, read below and learn what it entails.
Specializing a Nursing Degree in Pediatrics – What Are My Options?
If you know you want to specialize your nursing degree in pediatrics, you can choose from a couple of options. Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need to earn a degree in nursing at the very least. You can become a nurse by earning a nursing diploma or completing an Associate, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree nursing program. Once you’ve earned a nursing degree, you can specialize as a pediatrics nurse or you can specialize as a Pediatric Advanced Practice Nurse (PAPN). If you choose the latter, you can specialize as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) or a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Pediatrics.
How to Specialize a Nursing Degree in Pediatrics
Although you can become a registered nurse by completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, undergraduate programs don’t generally offer pediatric specialization programs, according to the Society of Pediatric Nurses. To work as a pediatric nurse, you earn your nursing degree and work in a health care facility that offers the chance to work in pediatrics. Many sites offer this work as a type of internship that can last weeks or months.
There is a different path to becoming a PAPN. Once you’ve earned your nursing degree and passed the NCLEX-RN through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, you can advance your education and enroll in a Master’s degree program and specialize your nursing degree in either the area of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Pediatrics. These generally take two years to complete.
Do I Need to Be Licensed or Certified?
Once you’ve completed all training for your area of specialization, you must apply to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to earn the credential of Pediatric Advanced Practice Nurse. At this time, you’ll also take a national certification exam for certification in your area of specialization. Certification can be obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Certification may or may not be required, depending on the state. Even if it’s not required, certification is recommended. To obtain certification, you need to pass a certification examination.
Related Resource: Family Nurse Practitioners
Career Outlook if I Specialize a Nursing Degree in Pediatrics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that registered nurses are predicted to experience an excellent employment growth between 2012-2022. Nurses who specialize in pediatrics are in demand and this is expected to continue. According to ExploreHealthCareers.org, pediatric nurses earn from $48,000 to $68,000 annually. Factors that may affect earnings are geographic location, type of facility, level of education and work experience.
Pediatric nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners often state they look forward to going to work because they get to experience the most exciting, fun and endearing population – children. Combining that with the knowledge that they’re helping children feel better makes this a rewarding career. You too can experience this if you choose to specialize a nursing degree in pediatrics.